My All American Kids And The Language Of The LAUGH

By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist

As a professional, Dadologist and all around good guy…… I would say that if I have learned anything over the past decade, it is that the most important lesson a father could ever learn is to simply PAY ATTENTION, at all times ( which is easier than you think) to YOUR KIDS!

This is particularly so for the times you aren’t actually engaging the kids throughout the day. Paying strictly, focused attention will eventually help you develop that eye in the back of your head. Or your kids will think so anyway. It all comes down to the sounds they make. In particular the laugh. While we all like to hear our kids laugh, because let’s face it, it means they are happy and hopefully well adjusted kids. But as you pay attention, you will notice that kids have different laughs and you can tell quite a bit from the differences in those laughs.

I know, you think I must be nuts, there isn’t any hidden meaning behind a kid’s laugh. Do a quick run down in your head of the differing styles of laughter in your household. You will realize that each has its own meaning, that isn’t necessarily universal and pertains to your unique children. Below is a simple list of the laughs my three kids make and what each typically means. By being able to distinguish between them has saved me a lot of trips across the house to see what is going on.

  1. The giggle means they are being sneaky and I had better go see what is up.
  2. The hysterical, nonstop laughter usually means they are watching a movie or TV and all is good.
  3. The high pitched, long laugh means they are jumping on the bed and intervention is needed.
  4. The super loud, almost a scream laugh means they are playing by hand and it’s punishment time around our house.
  5. The normal toned, yet slightly subdued laugh means they are playing a game or something innocent.
  6. The nonstop, begging laugh more often than not means that Other Daddy is playing in tickle mode.
  7. The short, snorting laugh probably means that kids just read something amusing.

Now, I imagine there are a few others I haven’t mentioned, but you get the idea. A laugh an speak volumes when it comes to your kids and their behavior. It may take a few months to figure them all out but once you have……your life becomes a lot easier.

Dadologist, Balanced Ideals For Families… A Year At A Time.

“When and where did I become such a rigid, structured person?” This is the question I have been asking myself over the past few weeks. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. But I used to be the ultimate party guy. Always up for some fun. Even after I ‘Grew Up’ and had settled into my career and had accepted the mantle of responsible, head of household.

Six years ago, Danny and I had just started the most challenging battle of our lives when we decided to adopt our three, wonderful children. I also happened to be experiencing the height of my career. Speaking requests, Interviews and contracts kept me busier than I had ever been. And I couldn’t have been happier. I was leading the life that we all dream about, but most never attain.

Multi-tasking no longer defined the key to my productivity. Hyper-Tasking comes much closer to describing my work ethic. Today’s technology has enabled me to literally do 5 things at once. And since I was adding to an already full day, I needed to do more than hyper-tasking would allow. I needed to schedule more than just my work hours, I would need to schedule my family and private lives as well.

In the early days of fatherhood, I quickly learned that structure was immensely important to not only the kids, but a smoothly run household as well. And the key to that structure was a schedule that we NEVER deviated from. Granted, there were times where people simply didn’t understand why we didn’t let the kids stay a few hours longer. But they were family groups that did not enforce a reasonable bedtime for their kids. We did.

Anyway, I mention this because after a few years Danny and I have learned that to be good Dadologist’ we needed to schedule out more than just the kids daily routines. We needed to do it a year at a time. We schedule everything we can think of. This way there is less chance of a missed event or having to change appointments.

Luckily technology allows us to auto integrate some things, like birthdays for friends and family that are on Facebook. We do have to enter in birthdays for the kids in the family, but only once. The other things we schedule are:

School calendar for days off, report cards and parent teacher conferences.

Yearly and quarterly doctor appointments for Pediatrician, Dentist and Specialists.

Weekly Extracurricular Activities like, Tennis, Art Club and Advanced Reading Club.

Monthly Community Events that we get from Neighborhood Association ie: Parades, Free Days for Botanical Gardens and Amusement Parks, Food Truck Fridays etc.

Yearly Events like Gay Pride, Christmas Light Tours, Seasonal Membership to Country Club and Pool, Seasonal Theatre Membership for Ballet and Concert Series,etc.

Family Vacation, Weekly Movie and Game Nights

So as you can see, when you add them all up and then include work schedules it simply becomes common sense. Another benefit is that we can now share these calendars with the kids to access on their smart devices. Talk about making our life more productive, yet allowing us to optimize the amount of time we spend together as a family.

Michael Harris -Arzon

Keep Things Simple….Take Your Work Home

It’s been a while since I posted anything and for that I sincerely apologize. This past year has been extremely trying as I struggled to find my way. As a professional with nothing but the strictest of work ethics, I found myself floundering like a fish out of water. When most people were ringing in the New Year with anticipation and jubilation I was being rushed to the Emergency Room with the worst health scare of my life.

After 6 touch and go days of laying in a hospital bed I was finally allowed to come home. But I was a different person. I no longer had the energy or drive of a Twenty Something. But as the next few months passed and I grew inpatient with the doctor ordered bed rest, I had plenty of time to contemplate my life, personal and professional. What I realized was that I no longer wanted to be the power player I had been. I wanted to enjoy my family and community.

I have always been the type of person to bring work home with me and thankfully we live in an age of technology where I could do my job from anywhere at anytime. So instead of doing a little of my work after the kids went to bed as I had a tendency to do, I had been forced to bring ALL of my work home with me. And guess what, I liked it. I found that I was less stressed and spent more time with the family than any other professional I know, while still putting in 50 – 60 hours a week.

Technology and a forced situation had given me a new outlook on how to stay successful. Granted my calendar seemed fuller, but it was spotted with entries like:

Pick kids up from school
Start dinner
PTA Meeting
Conference Call
Social Management
Kids Doctors Appointment
Webex Training
Article Deadlines
Play date with son’s friend from school
Watch the News
Date Night

The point being that by completely integrating my two lives has made me a happier person. So don’t be afraid to bring work home with you. Track your hours in the beginning until it becomes routine and in no time at all you will see that work and home life are one and the same. So break the chains of your traditional work day. You’ll thank me for it, I guarantee it!

Michael Harris – Arzon
The Simplistic Professional